June 13, 2008 Subject:
For the advanced or ambitious historical cook
In this 1764 cookbook, the first 129 recipes (3 are missing from the original) are for meat dishes, which may tell you a great deal about the changes in diet since then. These are pretty straightforward and not difficult to run up. Unfortunately, we then get into the puddings, of which some work and some require having "a penny loaf" for thickening. Except for those, you can fake your way through them as well as a cook of the time ("take five or six oranges" or "a handful of crumbs or bisket"), especially if you practice on some level-measurement baked and steamed puddings from, say, Fannie Farmer's original. After that, recipes go all over the place, with Strawberry and Raspberry Fool next to an almond posset followed by how to cure a buttock of beef or a mutton leg into Dutch beef, though you will need goofer irons to make goofer wafers.Remember, though, that unlike the recipes of today, where the gourmet crowd uses extra-large eggs and the regular cookbooks large eggs, these recipes were built for medium or even small eggs (if you can ever find smalls). Also that "powder sugar" is not the mix of sugar and cornstarch we use, but the 10x granulated you put in cold drinks. About the only vegetable well-represented is the artichoke, though others appear. At #301 the wine recipes appear: elderberry, gooseberry, balm, raisin, currant, birch, &c. not to mention flavoured ales and brandies, and mead from scratch.